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Eight-year-old Kevin Alex Gallegos used to do homework with his dad in their Omaha home every night before his dad was deported, and although they are now 2,000 miles away, father and son found a way to do homework together via Skype.

“It’s really hard because you’re so close from the laptop or the phone but yet again so far away,” said Manny Alvarado.

Alex’s mother, Zulema, takes pictures of her son’s textbooks and sends them to her husband Manny via WhatsApp, a free mobile phone app for instant messaging.

“We read books together so whenever I do a mistake, he can look at the book and he can help me fix that problem,” Alex said. “I like doing homework with my dad a lot.”

Manny had been going to a cybercafé in a small Oaxacan town in the south of Mexico, paying 10 pesos per hour to talk to his family. He has recently spent his savings on a tablet so it’s easier for him to connect with his son every weeknight. Although Manny is using technology to stay connected, “it’s just not the same.”